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Email storage space – how much do you need?

Email storage space – how much do you need?

In this article I discuss how much email storage space is needed by a typical user. If I see raised hands and voices asking for unlimited storage space, well, you’ve got it!
Yahoo!, Hotmail and AOL, three of the world’s most popular online email service providers have started to offer unlimited space.

“Unlimited storage” is actually an incorrect notionthere is no such thing! Hard disk storage space is a physical entity and can never be unlimited. Any way, for most of us, a couple of GBs are more than enough.

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For instance, I am a prolific user of my Gmail mail and have barely crossed 20% of the storage space, most of which is occupied by the few video (large files) clips I have stored in my account.

I believe the majority of the email users utilize only a small portion of the allocated inbox space and this is the prime reason why Yahoo!, for instance, announced unlimited space for email accounts. Only a dedicated (insane?) person would like to make use of the whole of unlimited space (whatever that means) and maybe he/she would be allowed to do so, but for most of us a few GBs would be sufficient.

Everyone seems to be increasing email storage space

Yahoo! was the first to provide unlimited storage. It was quickly followed by AOL and now even Windows Live Hotmail has jumped on the bandwagon. Not to be left behind, four popular Indian companies – Sify.com, Rediff.com, Zapak.com and Indiatimes.com – place no limits on email storage space – read Email storage space on Indian web portals increases to unlimited for details. And as we all know, the storage space ticker on Gmail keeps on going and it will be running harder from the 4th of January 2008.

So, the race for offering the largest email storage space has now kind of ended with several providers proffering unlimited amounts. What is going to play a bigger role are features and ease of use.

Google has been excelling in this department. They keep on adding free and powerful features to Gmail accounts via labs. I also like the Yahoo! Mail new interface with drag-n-drop but it does take a bit of time to load on slower connections and requires a higher screen resolution. But it’s a treat!

It is also a given that as email storage space increases, the number of emails a typical user stores online will increase. The need for a search feature that can query all emails and display results quickly will be paramount. In fact, a good search feature would be a prerequisite for these large storage space email accounts. I suppose Google would be at the forefront of this too with their proprietary and excellent search algorithms.

Should Google be bothered with competition providing unlimited email storage space?

According to me, Google will not be providing unlimited storage space for Gmail accounts unless something really goes awry. After a point, the amount of email storage space is no longer a factor in choosing which service to use. And so, Google, in my opinion, would put efforts in making Gmail simpler to use (tweaking the interface or changing it altogether) and adding new unique features. So, though, the Gmail storage space would continue to increase, it will never be “unlimited”.

Google’s Gmail and its unlimited email storage space competitors

Gmail was launched with 1GB inbox space which was almost a 100 times more than what was being provided by competitors at that time. However, the storage space on Gmail is now the smallest amongst the four most popular email providers.

Here is a quick run down of the unlimited email storage space competition:

Yahoo! Mail

Yahoo! MailYahoo is probably the best email service in the world – unlimited storage and a great easy-to-use interface with a host of features. Sadly POP3 access is still not available for free.

Hotmail – Windows Live

Windows Live HotmailProbably the most used email service in the world. Hotmail was slow to catch up but now offers unlimited storage, free POP3 access, 25MB attachment size and much more.

AOL Mail

AOL mailGreat free email service that offers both POP3 and IMAP access on all accounts.


Mail2World unlimited email storageMight just make a mark for itself if the features are good and useful.


Indiatimes.comPart of the famous Times of India newspaper group.


Rediff's email serviceProbably the first true Indian portal and has always actively promoted its email service.


Zapak mail logoLargest Indian gaming portal from one of the biggest business groups in India


Sify.com email serviceOne of the first private I.S.P. in India

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